The Bells of St. Mary's | Chicago Reader

The Bells of St. Mary's

Leo McCarey's 1945 sequel to his hugely successful Going My Way (1944), with Bing Crosby back as Father O'Malley, the pipe-smoking priest of the New York slums. Going My Way is probably the worst of McCarey's major films—obvious, coy, fearsomely sentimental—but Bells is one of his finest, a film so subtle in its romantic exposition that it's halfway over before you realize what it's about: a priest in love with a nun. Seldom has a sequel so completely transcended its predecessor: McCarey's invisible hand, nudging the narrative more than directing it, turns looming cliches into the most refined, elusive feeling. With Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, and William Gargan.

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